WHO Poll
Q: 2020/2021 Where will we finish up this season?
a. Top Four, Champions League here we come
b. 5th-7th Europa League is well within our grasp
c. 8th to 14th anywhere in mid table is about right
d. We're in a dog fight before a ball has been kicked and we'll do well to finish 17th or just above
e. GSB have derailed our season before a ball has been kicked, the Championship beckons

Alan 2:13 Wed Jan 9
Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
For those enquiring recently about my health, I got the final all-clear this morning.


Chelsea are closing in on the signing of AC Milan and Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, 31. (Marca)

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has placed a £225m price tag on Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen, 26, amid interest from Real Madrid. (AS - in Spanish)

Tottenham's former Spain striker Fernando Llorente, 33, has been offered the chance to return to Athletic Bilbao. (Mirror)

Athletic Bilbao chief Rafael Alkorta has confirmed he wants to bring Manchester United and Spain midfielder Ander Herrera, 29, back to the club. Herrera left the Spanish side in 2014. (Cadena Ser, via Mail)

But Herrera may be set to stay at Old Trafford after United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly convinced him to remain at the club. (Sun)

Manchester United have accepted they will have to wait until the summer to sign Napoli and Senegal centre-back ​Kalidou Koulibaly, 27. (ESPN)

Stoke City are considering a formal approach for Luton Town manager Nathan Jones to succeed the sacked Gary Rowett. (Times - subscription required)

Mathias Pogba has criticised the treatment of his brother, Manchester United's France international midfielder Paul Pogba, by the Old Trafford club's former manager, Jose Mourinho. (Times - subscription required)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says talks are taking place about extending 32-year-old Belgian central defender Vincent Kompany's contract, which expires at the end of the season. (Star)

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been approached over the possibility of coaching the Qatar national team. (France Football)

Inter Milan are prepared to sell Croatia forward Ivan Perisic, 29, to Manchester United in order to raise funds to sign Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, 33. (Tuttosport, via Calciomercato)

Inter and Argentina striker Mauro Icardi, 25, is at the top of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's wish-list for the January transfer window. (Mirror)

Bayern Munich have increased their offer for Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi to £35m, with the 18-year-old having reiterated his desire to leave Stamford Bridge this month. (Guardian)

Chelsea want to sign AC Milan and Portugal striker Andre Silva - who is on loan at Sevilla - but the deal hinges on the Blues' Spain striker Alvaro Morata replacing him at the Spanish club. (Sun)

Everton are monitoring Porto and Algeria midfielder Yacine Brahimi and had a scout at Monday's 3-1 win over Nacional, in which the 28-year-old scored twice. (Mirror)

Burnley goalkeeper Joe Hart, 31, is a target for Preston who want the former England international on loan. (Sun)

Crystal Palace want to take Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham on loan after the 21-year-old, currently on loan at Aston Villa, turned down the chance to join Wolves. (Mirror)

Southampton are keen on signing Everton forward Ademola Lookman, 21. (Star - via HITC)

Fulham gave England defender Gary Cahill, 33, Nigeria winger Victor Moses and England midfielder Danny Drinkwater, both 28, a training ground tour in an attempt to lure them away from Chelsea. (Love Sport Radio)

Liverpool defender Rafael Camacho, 18, is set to leave Anfield - just days after being handed his senior debut - with Sporting Lisbon close to agreeing a deal for the right-back. (Talksport)

Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez, 25, is keen on a move to Arsenal in January. (Mirror)

Spurs are set to hold talks with out-of-favour Dutch striker Vincent Janssen and will consider letting the 24-year-old striker leave in the January transfer window. (Mail)

Burnley centre-back Jimmy Dunne, 21, is wanted on loan by Sunderland. (Burnley Express)

Reading have rejected an offer of £450,000 from Wigan for defender Tyler Blackett, 24. (Mail)

Preston and West Brom are interested in signing Mansfield midfielder CJ Hamilton, 23. (Mansfield Chad)

Newcastle have turned down an approach from West Brom for midfielder Isaac Hayden, 23. (Express & Star)

Aston Villa have also joined the race to sign Hayden. (Mirror)

Arsenal are considering making former midfielder Edu their new director of football. The Brazilian retired in 2010. (Standard)

Barcelona are open to the idea of selling Brazilian winger Malcom, 21, despite only signing him in the summer. (Mundo Deportivo)

Tottenham are monitoring Wolves full-back Matt Doherty but the 26-year-old could double his wages at Molineux in the coming weeks. (Irish Independent)

West Ham are set to make an improved offer for former Cardiff midfielder Gary Medel. The 31-year-old Chile defensive midfielder will leave Besiktas if their valuation is met. (Takvim - via Sport Witness)

Guardian Rumour Mill

Nick Miller

January has traditionally been a time when keen shoppers are on the lookout for bargains, but you have to go to the right places. You can’t just blunder into a Bentley dealership and slap down your debit card, demand 25% off and hope to saunter out with a shiny motor.

Equally, if Real Madrid thought they could pick up the phone to Tottenham and strike themselves a sweet deal for a lovely new Christian Eriksen, they were very much mistaken. According to AS in Spain, Real are very much keen on the Dane, but have been politely informed to hammer £225m – two hundred and twenty-five million pounds – on the table or just not bother. Apparently Real see Eriksen as the ideal replacement for Luka Modric, but not if they have to pay that sort of coin.

Speaking of Modric, Inter still hold a candle for him, and are looking to raise funds. That means they’re looking to flog Ivan Perisic to Manchester United, and why not? After all, the manager there was obsessed with getting the Croatia winger for the last couple of years, so as long as he’s still knocking they should have a keen buyer, right? Eh? Oh.

Speaking of departures from Old Trafford, Ander Herrera has apparently been toying with the idea of doing one, with old club Athletic Bilbao keen to bring him home. However, because there’s nothing he can’t do at the moment, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has persuaded him to stay. No matter: Athletic, seemingly on a “re-sign all our former players” trip at the moment, were so impressed with Fernando Llorente’s hat-trick against Tranmere in the FA Cup that they want him back too. Meanwhile United have solemnly come to terms with the fact that they’ll have to wait till the summer if they want Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, according to ESPN.

Pity the poor admin department at Chelsea, for this could be a busy month for them. If it’s not processing Bayern Munich’s latest offer for Callum Hudson-Odoi, it’s prepping a bid for Inter’s Mauro Icardi, who is apparently Roman Abramovich’s favoured signing this month. Or, a slightly more realistic option could be Sevilla’s André Silva, but that involves persuading Álvaro Morata to swap places with him. And then there’s Gonzalo Higuaín, about whom rumours will only stop when the sun explodes and the Earth is consumed by its fire, and maybe not even then.

That’s not even considering the continuing Cesc Fàbregas saga, his departure seemingly hinging on them getting a replacement in: word on the street is they’re after both Cagliari’s Nicolò Barella, and/or Zenit St Petersburg’s Leandro Paredes. Also it’s possible that Fulham could move for a job lot of Danny Drinkwater, Victor Moses and Gary Cahill. And finally, despite him seemingly ruling out another loan move, it says here that Crystal Palace want Tammy Abraham for the rest of the season. Sheesh. Lots of paperwork there.

A few bits and bobs to finish. West Ham might be bringing in Gary Medel from Besiktas; Tottenham are keeping tabs on Wolves right wing-back Matt Doherty; Abdoulaye Doucouré has dangled a leg towards PSG; West Brom and Aston Villa both want Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden; Preston would like to borrow Joe Hart for a bit; and our old pal Arsène Wenger is a candidate for the Qatar national team gig. Eeesh.


Good news and bad news on Hammers injuries

Fabian Balbuena’s hopes of making a return to the team for the match against Arsenal on Saturday have been dashed.

The Paraguyan central defender – injured in the game against Watford trying to prevent a move which eventually led to a penalty – has suffered a setback in his recovery.

And talking to Claret and Hugh by e-mail this morning a senior source revealed the injury may now need a small operation.

It’s a blow for manager Manuel Pellegrini who will be forced to continue with Angelo Ogbonna at central defence in a partnership which at times hasn’t looked anything like as solid as that between Issa Diop and The General.

However the good news is that both Chicharito and Ryan Fredericks are back in full training this week and will be available for selection assuming there are no further problems before the end of the week.

Our source explained: “”Balbuena has had a setback and might need a small operation. Chicharito and Fredericks are both now in full training.”

The Boot Room

How would West Ham target Divock Origi fit into the XI?

By Dom Toner

West Ham reportedly have Liverpool striker Divock Origi on their radar this January.

According to the Daily Star in its print edition (9 January 2019, page 43), the Hammers could move for the Belgian in January if they free up room in the attacking department.

It is understood that they are trying to offload striker Lucas Perez and he’s attracting loan interest from Spanish club Real Betis.

Origi, 23, is an intriguing option to be on Manuel Pellegrini’s radar, but could he thrive at the London Stadium if given the opportunity?

The Belgium international is a powerful centre-forward that is on the fringes at Liverpool so far this season, but made the most of his limited time on the pitch.

He’s scored two goals in just four senior appearances so far this campaign for Liverpool, while he’s also shown he can find the net during his time in England on Merseyside.

Origi is a decent finisher inside the penalty area and could give West Ham a more physical presence than Perez in the final third.

But could he slot in alongside West Ham’s key attacking pair Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic.

Brazilian dazzler Anderson has cemented his spot on the left flank and Arnautovic has been the target man leading the line.

It’s more likely that Origi would act as a back-up for Arnautovic, but Pellegrini has used a two-man attacker before and pairing the two powerhouses together could be lethal.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Iron Duke 1:02 Thu Jan 10
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Great news Alan. i didn't even know you had a health scare.

Was it Bad AIDS? swtoc.

Crassus 12:55 Thu Jan 10
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Good news mate, and great to hear

Alwaysaniron 12:53 Thu Jan 10
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Fantastic news Alan. Really pleased for you.

Now the soppy stuff is over, can you get the news on a bit earlier please


CARTERS 9:55 Thu Jan 10
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Wonderful news Alan.
This site in nothing without your contribution every day.
Happy new year and all the best for your future health.

dolph 4:40 Thu Jan 10
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Good bit of news that Alan, very glad to hear it.

Capitol Man 1:31 Thu Jan 10
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Happy to hear that Alan.

Fifth Column 10:03 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Brilliant Alan. Great news.

Jasnik 8:37 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Now that is the news we want to hear..

Mr Logic 8:08 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Well done Alan old son!

bill green 7:35 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
great news Alan

Cicero 7:12 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks again, Alan and great to hear your good news.

thecockneyboy 6:49 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Al, good news on your health mate

The_Phantom 5:46 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan and great news at the top. All the best

SecondOpinion 5:38 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Good news Alan, am pleased for you. I got my all clear as well from both cancers in August. Hope you are recovering well.

Westham67 5:04 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Good news Alan

Side of Ham 4:52 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Fantastic, lovely to hear your news Alan! Puts football to the back burner that kind of news.

Mex Martillo 4:44 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Great news Alan, really pleased to read that news.
Sorry, missed it at first as I always scroll straight to West Ham news (which less important today than the 1st news today!)

Mex Martillo 4:40 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks Alan

Texas Iron 4:38 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Good to hear you're OK...


-[Rasta]- 4:30 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
glad to hear the great news Al :)

Alan 4:28 Wed Jan 9
Re: Wednesday newspapers (includes West Ham)
Thanks chaps

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